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Friday, June 30, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

Starting of with something from my ASCD SmartBrief for June 29, 2006.

Alabama expands distance-learning program

Alabama will use $1.8 million in federal and state grant money to add another 20 schools to the 24 already in its distance-learning program. Gov. Bob Riley said the distance-learning push, coupled with other initiatives in place to boost test scores, should propel the state's students from near bottom to the top of the nation's academic list. The Huntsville Times (Ala.) (6/29)

From my Yahoo news alert service for virtual school...

Virtual Academy
Times and Democrat Thu, 22 Jun 2006 9:12 PM PDT

Imagine taking high school courses at any time, anywhere and at your own pace. High school and adult education students are now getting that opportunity through the OCEBA Virtual Academy, says Donna Elmore, associate vice president at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

Board rejects charter school
Casper Star-Tribune Fri, 23 Jun 2006 1:17 AM PDT

LANDER -- With one abstention, the Fremont County School District 1 board Tuesday night voted down an application for a proposed K-8 charter school in Lander.

‘Virtual’ school has tentative guidelines
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Fri, 23 Jun 2006 10:32 PM PDT

A Fort Wayne man looking to open an online charter school in the city is pleased with the proposed guidelines Ball State University announced this week for how such schools should operate.

Virtual Academy
Times and Democrat Fri, 23 Jun 2006 9:16 PM PDT

Imagine taking high school courses at any time, anywhere and at your own pace. High school and adult education students are now getting that opportunity through the OCEBA Virtual Academy, says Donna Elmore, associate vice president at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.

Virtual School Leaders Encourage Growth of K-12 Online Learning; Discuss High School Reform at Regional Summit
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Mon, 26 Jun 2006 11:46 AM PDT

The North American Council for Online Learning an international K-12 non-profit organization representing online learning practitioners in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and Florida Virtual School , a leading provider statewide public virtual school and model online learning program, hosted a regional professional development summit where teachers and administrators discussed how virtual

Online academy to offer session
Akron Beacon Journal Mon, 26 Jun 2006 0:22 AM PDT

Ohio Virtual Academy, a statewide, online charter school, will hold a parent information session. It will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn in Belden Village, 4520 Everhard Road N.W.

Washington Virtual Academy Launches State's Premier Online Public School Program
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Tue, 27 Jun 2006 11:00 AM PDT

Parents across the state of Washington now have access to a new high quality option in education for their kids with the announcement of the Washington Virtual Academy -- the state's premier online public school program.

Virtual School Leaders Encourage Growth of K-12 Online Learning; Discuss High School Reform at Regional Summit
SYS-CON Media Mon, 26 Jun 2006 4:27 PM PDT

The North American Council for Online Learning (NACOL.org) an international K-12 non-profit organization representing online learning practitioners in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and Florida Virtual School (FLVS.net), a leading provider statewide public virtual school and model online learning program, hosted a regional professional development summit where teachers and administrators

Virtual School Leaders Encourage Growth of K-12 Online Learning; Discuss High School Reform at Regional Summit
RedNova Mon, 26 Jun 2006 3:18 PM PDT

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- The N

Virtual School and E 4 TN Building
WDEF Chattanooga Tue, 27 Jun 2006 2:01 PM PDT

Hamilton County's Virtual School will soon open at a new location across the county Board of Education headquarters. A ribbon cutting ceremony showcased the facility, which also houses the state's new "E" Four Tenn.

Washington Virtual Academy Launches State's Premier Online Public School Program
SYS-CON Media Tue, 27 Jun 2006 3:28 PM PDT

the state's premier online public school program.

Comment on this story. Virtual Academy to host parent session Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The Canton Repository Wed, 28 Jun 2006 1:47 AM PDT

JACKSON TWP. - The Ohio Virtual Academy will host a parent information session at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn Belden Village, at 4520 Everhard Rd. NW.

Virtual course a first in B.C.; awaits approval
The Abbotsford News Thu, 29 Jun 2006 3:02 PM PDT

A ground-breaking animation and modelling course for high school students has been approved by Abbotsford school trustees. The course, which Abbotsford Virtual School principal Don Martyn said will be a first in B.C., is awaiting Ministry of Education approval this week.

ACCOUNTING STUDENTS' PERCEPTIONS OF A VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT: SPRINGBOARD OR SAFETY NET?
Accounting Education Thu, 29 Jun 2006 6:56 PM PDT

This research study elicits students' perceptions of the extent to which a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) supports, or indeed enhances, their learning experiences.

From my Yahoo news alert service for cyber school.

Cyber school for cheats
The Sunday Mail Sat, 24 Jun 2006 8:09 AM PDT

STUDENTS are outsourcing their homework and assignments as part of a global cyber scam dubbed "contract cheating."

Cranberry to offer cyber school alternative
The Derrick Tue, 27 Jun 2006 8:21 PM PDT

The district will off courses online through a cyber services program with Intermediate Units 5 and 6. An alternative to cyber charter schools, set to be offered through Cranberry Area School District next year, could save the school district thousands of dollars.

Virtual course a first in B.C.; awaits approval
The Abbotsford News Thu, 29 Jun 2006 3:02 PM PDT

A ground-breaking animation and modelling course for high school students has been approved by Abbotsford school trustees. The course, which Abbotsford Virtual School principal Don Martyn said will be a first in B.C., is awaiting Ministry of Education approval this week.

Next from my Google news alert for virtual school.

Virtual school is a virtual reality
Hope Standard - B.C., Canada

The Virtual School website is available to all students in the Fraser Cascade School District and Provincially. You can visit the ...

Quizam Software Gains Momentum and Signs its 44th School as ...
CCNMatthews (press release) - Toronto,ON,Canada

("Quizam" or "the Company") (TSX VENTURE:QQ) is pleased to announce Kamloops/Thompson Virtual School's Special Education Department has signed an agreement ...

‘Virtual’ school has tentative guidelines
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - Fort Wayne,IN,USA

... Birkhold said the advantage for parents to seeking an education from a virtual school as opposed to home schooling their children is the students will receive ...

Virtual school, real education
Seattle Times - United States

Some educators, parents and kids were in town to describe what it's like to go to a virtual school, a public K-8 school that exists in minds and computers, not ...

Virtual School Leaders Encourage Growth of K-12 Online Learning ...
Yahoo! News (press release) - USA

... K-12 non-profit organization representing online learning practitioners in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and Florida Virtual School (FLVS.net), a ...

And finally from my Google news alert for cyber school.

Why every Australian family needs the internet
The Age - Melbourne,Victoria,Australia

... the nation into internet "haves" and "have-nots" and creating a new cyber underclass. ... to 94 per cent of 12-to-14-year-olds - used it for school or education ...

Cyber school for cheats
Queensland Sunday Mail - Brisbane,Queensland,Australia

... their homework and assignments as part of a global cyber scam dubbed ... A Sunday Mail investigation has revealed high school and university students are using ...

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

From my Yahoo! news alerts for virtual school.

Virtual high school graduates seven
North County Times Thu, 15 Jun 2006 5:53 PM PDT

TEMECULA ---- Seven students will graduate from the Rainbow Advanced Institute for Learning charter school tonight at the Temeku Country Club in Temecula.

School's out for summer
KXLY-TV Spokane Fri, 16 Jun 2006 6:06 PM PDT

SPOKANE -- For area students, Friday was the last day of school, meaning the official start of summer and for many youngsters they already have big plans for the next three months of vacation.

The winners of the 2006 Connections Academy Quiz Bowl competition
Daily American Fri, 16 Jun 2006 9:04 PM PDT

Connections Academy, a national provider of K-10 virtual public schools with schools in 11 states, has announced the winners of its 2006 Connections Academy Quiz Bowl competition.

School board meetings
The Cincinnati Enquirer Sun, 18 Jun 2006 2:42 AM PDT

[chart] NEXT MEETING ON AGENDA LAST MEETING BUTLER COUNTY Lakota: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Lakota Central Office, 5572 Princeton RoadDiscussion of the district's strategic plan.Presentation of the 2006-2007 school year budget. CLERMONT COUNTY Batavia: 7 p.m. Monday, 800 Bauer Ave.Federal and state programs, textbooks, virtual learning academy, student handbooksEstablished

Minnesota Virtual Academy offers new option for at home schooling
KAALtv.com Wed, 21 Jun 2006 8:23 AM PDT

(KAAL) -- Rochester parents have another schooling option for their kids in the upcoming school year. It's called the Minnesota Virtual Academy--a tuition free, public school program for students kindergarten through eighth grade.

Board rejects charter school
Casper Star-Tribune Wed, 21 Jun 2006 9:32 AM PDT

LANDER -- With one abstention, the Fremont County School District 1 board Tuesday night voted down an application for a proposed K-8 charter school in Lander.

Virtual school, real education
Seattle Times Thu, 22 Jun 2006 0:16 AM PDT

I saw the future of public education the other day, and it reminded me how stuck Seattle is in a stone age. Some educators, parents and...

Steilacoom School District enrolling online students statewide
Fox 12 Oregon Thu, 22 Jun 2006 8:49 AM PDT

STEILACOOM, Wash. The Steilacoom School District in Pierce County plans to enroll students statewide this fall through its online academic program.

The Yahoo news alert for cyber school.

Ball State creates guidelines for virtual charter schools
The Star Press Mon, 19 Jun 2006 0:19 AM PDT

MUNCIE -- Today Ball State University will publish draft guidelines detailing the university's expectations for authorizing the state's first virtual charter schools.

And Google news alert for virtual school

Law creates ‘virtual school’ to link students and teachers
Columbia Missourian - Columbia,MO,USA

... Matt Blunt on Monday, requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create a “virtual school” program by July 2007. ...

Missouri Offers Virtual Learning Options
digitalBURG.com - Warrensburg,MO,USA

... Missouri's virtual school will be subject to the same educational standards as every other public school district in Missouri. Because ...

FdL family finds virtual school ideal for special needs daughter
The Reporter - Fond du Lac,WI,USA

... The Rebers credit virtual school as the stimulus and nurturer of Maria's latent abilities. It turns out, her father believes, that ...

Finally, the Google news alert for cyber school.

Cyber school adds bricks-and-mortar 'blend' in Marshall
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School is launching a tutoring and enrichment pilot program this month that, at first, sounds suspiciously like old-fashioned ...

Norwin not alone with hike
Gateway Newspapers - USA

... "When a student chooses to attend a cyber school, the tuition is paid by his home district,"said Pat Kennedy, Allegheny Intermediate Unit director of ...

Online classrooms mean plenty of “cyber” space for teaching at ...
UQ News - Brisbane,Queensland,Australia

... UQ's School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering staff are currently pursuing a number of experiments based around the iLabs technology. ...

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Virtual School Presentation

I got this from my Horizon Wimba newsletter.

The Benefits of Interactive Technologies in K-12 Online Education

Now that many online K-12 programs have grown comfortable with Blackboard, WebCT, and other course management systems, it's time to take the next step. This presentation, given by several of the leading K-12 innovators in the country, will explore how interactive technologies can be used to complement face-to-face and online courses in K-12.

Date and Time:Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 2pm EDT

Presented by:Steve Montano, Choice 2000 Virtual High School

>> Register for this Desktop Lecture

I know that I'll try to attend.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

The Yahoo news alert for virtual school this week.

Virtual school poised to grow
The News-Review Fri, 09 Jun 2006 8:01 AM PDT

SCIO, Ore. (AP) Oregon's biggest virtual school is still in its inaugural year, but its popularity is soaring and it may double in size by next year.

Virtual Academy offers parents series
Port Clinton News Herald Fri, 09 Jun 2006 7:40 AM PDT

The Ohio Virtual Academy, a statewide public community school that currently serves thousands of students across Ohio in grades K-9, is hosting a series of parent information sessions across the state.

Ozaukee e-school may add offerings
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Thu, 08 Jun 2006 10:55 PM PDT

A virtual school housed in the Northern Ozaukee School District could expand to offer high school classes if...

Hopkinton schools craft technology vision
The MetroWest Daily News Thu, 08 Jun 2006 9:19 PM PDT

HOPKINTON -- Imagine a high school where students can finish their first year of college through online courses, or hone their Chinese skills via a virtual classroom based in Beijing.

Lansing hopes virtual school lowers teens' dropout rate
Lansing State Journal Sat, 10 Jun 2006 4:23 AM PDT

Lansing schools' leaders anticipate a jump in the high school graduation rate this school year after rolling out new computer-based programs at the Hill Center for Academics and Technology.

Online courses take heat out of summer school
The Clarion-Ledger Tue, 13 Jun 2006 3:21 AM PDT

Traditional summer school may become a thing of the past as more and more students are going online to take summer courses. More than 600 students have signed up for one of 12 free online courses being offered through the state Department of Education's Virtual School.

Blunt signs bill creating virtual school
Jefferson City News Tribune Tue, 13 Jun 2006 4:59 AM PDT

Some Missouri students will get to choose whether to sit in a classroom or in front of a home computer thanks to a new state law.

Michigan Leads the Country With New K-12 e-Learning Initiative
Market Wire via Yahoo! Finance Tue, 13 Jun 2006 9:30 AM PDT

Michigan Virtual University today announced a partnership with Blackboard Inc. to strengthen the delivery of online learning to as many as 450,000 Michigan high school students during the next three years. This reinforces the new high school graduation requirements signed into law by the Michigan Legislature and Governor Granholm in April 2006. The new high school graduation requirements include

Keeping the high in high-tech learning
Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune Mon, 12 Jun 2006 8:41 PM PDT

To Stephanie Hoffman, it was kind of a "Duh" question. Why do Minnesota schools need to beef up their technology? "Well ..." said the lead teacher at Minnesota Connections Academy, an online school bunkered on Lake Street in Minneapolis. Then she rattled off the ways: iPods, digital cameras, personal digital assistants, blogs, video conferencing, data crunching, distance learning, virtual science

Virtual school to open
Leavenworth Times Tue, 13 Jun 2006 10:34 PM PDT

A new Leavenworth school plans to open its doors, so to speak, in August. But don’t expect to see a new building. The Leavenworth Virtual School will offer curriculum to students whose parents, for whatever reason, decided to teach their children at home, according to Director Kevin Lunsford.

Blunt signs bill creating virtual school
Lake Sun Leader Tue, 13 Jun 2006 10:27 PM PDT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some students will get to choose whether to sit in a classroom or in front of a home computer thanks to a new state law.

Virtual high school graduates seven
North County Times Wed, 14 Jun 2006 11:20 PM PDT

TEMECULA ---- Seven students will graduate from the Rainbow Advanced Institute for Learning charter school tonight at the Temeku Country Club in Temecula.

The Yahoo news alert for cyber school this week.

School's out, but state scores are in
The Plain Dealer Sat, 10 Jun 2006 1:44 AM PDT

Shortly after the last recess bell rings, teachers and administrators get hit with another wake-up call: state test scores. A preliminary breakdown of scores released Friday covers tests given in March in grades three to eight, as well as the Ohio Graduation Test given to 10th-graders.

Cyber school adds bricks-and-mortar 'blend' in Marshall
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Sat, 10 Jun 2006 9:24 PM PDT

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School is launching a tutoring and enrichment pilot program this month that, at first, sounds suspiciously like old-fashioned summer school.

Successful Charter School Leaders Launch Newest Statewide Public Cyber School
PR Newswire via Yahoo! Finance Mon, 12 Jun 2006 5:00 AM PDT

Families across the Commonwealth now have access to a new high quality option in public education with the announcement of the Agora Cyber Charter School.

The Daily Item - Sunbury, PA
The Daily Item Sun, 11 Jun 2006 10:02 PM PDT

LEWISBURG — The SusQ-Cyber Charter School recently held graduation exercises in the Lewisburg Area High School auditorium. The Milton-based cyber school had an enrollment this school year of 203.

Next the Google news Alert for virtual school.

Virtual school poised to grow
News-Review - Roseburg,OR,USA

SCIO, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s biggest virtual school is still in its inaugural year, but its popularity is soaring and it may double in size by next year. ...

Ozaukee e-school may add offerings
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (subscription) - Milwaukee,WI,USA

A virtual school housed in the Northern Ozaukee School District could expand to offer high school classes if discussions pan out between school officials and ...

Virtual school offers free second chance
Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA

... have 278 students who’ve already started or are continuing the recovery process,” said Gary Lewis, administrator and USD 497’s Lawrence Virtual School. ...

Lansing hopes virtual school lowers teens' dropout rate
Lansing State Journal - Lansing,MI,USA

... who originally estimated 100 students would use the new virtual program; nearly 400 did. Now she foresees long-term improvements for the whole school district. ...

New online summer school is a hit with Wilson students
The Tennessean - Nashville,TN,USA
... The response has been phenomenal and has drawn kids from across the state and the region, said Phyllis Copeland, coordinator of Virtual School in Hamilton ...

Blunt signs bill creating virtual school
Kansas City Star - MO,USA

The bill, signed by Gov. Matt Blunt on Monday, requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to create a "virtual school" program by July 2007. ...

Finally, the Google news alert for cyber school.

Grand Forks schools block MySpace Web site
Pioneer Press - St. Paul,MN,USA

... to locate their home or school address, thus becoming easy targets for predators.". The Web site has become a favorite of child predators, cyber bullies and con ...

Successful Charter School Leaders Launch Newest Statewide Public ...
PR Newswire (press release) - New York,NY,USA

... The new public cyber school, which will serve students in grades K - 10, is currently accepting enrollments from new students and hiring certified teachers ... [See all stories on this topic]

Women still excluded in ICT studies
African News Dimension - Johannesburg,South Africa

... people in Africa are women, and of the total out-of-school children, 60 ... Perhaps a job in cyber-law would be more ‘female,’ more acceptable.” IT analysts ...

Academics unearth new type of cyber-cheating
24dash.com - Hereford,Herefordshire,UK

Academics in Birmingham have unearthed a new type of cyber-cheating where students put ... Researchers at the business school found that one in ten of all bid ...

44 graduate from SusQ-Cyber Charter School
Sunbury Daily Item - Sunbury,PA,USA

... exercises in the Lewisburg Area High School auditorium. The Milton-based cyber school had an enrollment this school year of 203. ... [See all stories on this topic]

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another Virtual School Question

Clarence, over at Remote Access, asks an interesting question in Just Wondering....

If schools did not have a monopoly on students and their education, what kinds of classrooms would students choose to attend?
Do you think virtual classroom would have any of the characteristics that the students would include in responding to this question? Which characteristics? Which characteristics would students want that virtual schools do not currently offer? Could never offer?

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why Do People Take Virtual School Courses

Okay, I spend a lot of time taking about who we should be targetting when we design virtual school opportunities (see Who Are We Trying To Serve? and Who Are Virtual Schools Most Needed For? as recent examples).

But maybe a better way to start to look at this issue is from an instructional designer's perspective, and if Dr. Branch's course in ID taught me anything, the first thing you do is talk to the clients to find our where the gap is (i.e., do a needs assessment).

It appears that others have already started this process for us. More specifically, Darren over at Teaching and Developing Online and the good people over at Allied Online High School Blog have already started this for us. See:
So, if the first step is seeing why students avail themselves of virtual school opportunities, what do these reasons tell us?

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Friday, June 09, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

First from my ASCD SmartBrief for June 6, 2006 (see http://r.smartbrief.com/resp/dLxAgmosvStubFHXJn).

Cyberschool serves California students
The California Virtual Academies nonprofit provides its 3,500 K-9 students Internet connectivity, a computer, printer, software and access to a credentialed teacher available online and by phone. The virtual public charter school can spend more on each student than traditional schools do because it has no facility costs. Los Angeles Daily News (6/5)

Oregon online school ends first year amid controversy
Critics complain that the student-teacher ratio at Oregon Connections Academy is 50-1 and that the large cyberschool is run by a for-profit private company. However, demand has been so great that enrollment could double this coming school year. The Oregonian (Portland) (6/7)

Next from Distance-Educator.com, Inc.

Distance Learning May Be Closer
Source: timesobserver.com

The future may be now for “distance learning” classrooms in the Warren County School District.http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article14913.phtml

High School Students Filling Their Heads With Cyberspace
Source: journal-news.com

FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP — Eight hundred Butler County students were able to earn high school credit during the 2005-2006 school year through Butler Tech Online. Available through Butler Tech, the program is about to complete its third year.http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article14907.phtml

From my Yahoo news alert for virtual school.

Elgin teen mixes career and school thanks to online learning
CentralOhio.com Fri, 02 Jun 2006 10:10 AM PDT

MARION - When his sports career started to conflict with school work, Tim Hollenbeck decided to take his schooling to the virtual world. The professional dirt bike racer is now celebrating his success as he graduates from TRECA Digital Academy with a high grade point average.

By Laura Jansen Staff Reporter
Maple Ridge News Sat, 03 Jun 2006 9:27 AM PDT

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district will be one of many in the province to set up a virtual school. The district will expand the online program it already offers with courses available from Garibaldi and Pitt Meadows secondary schools, as well as the community education office.

Virtual classroom comes into home
Los Angeles Daily News Mon, 05 Jun 2006 0:09 AM PDT

SANTA CLARITA - More homes may be turned into satellite public schools if parents buy into a program that lets them teach the lessons themselves. Though the children are taught at home, the program is not considered home-schooling.

Virtual school offers free second chance
Lawrence Journal-World Tue, 06 Jun 2006 7:50 AM PDT

More than 475 area students are expected to take advantage of a summer program that gives them a second shot at failed courses. The school was host to a similar session Monday.

Regional News Briefs
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Mon, 05 Jun 2006 9:33 PM PDT

Union appeals virtual-school ruling The state's largest teachers union has appealed a judge's ruling...

Web school draws pupils, critics
The Oregonian Wed, 07 Jun 2006 0:03 AM PDT

SCIO -- The state's biggest virtual school ends next week after an inaugural year that drew nearly 700 students with soaring demand that could double its size this fall, eventually making it the largest school in Oregon.

New online summer school is a hit with Wilson students
Tennessean Wed, 07 Jun 2006 0:15 AM PDT

With morning football practice, a night job and a failing grade in English, Greg Thompson has a lot going on. If he didn't live in Wilson County, this rising high school senior might have to choose between the pigskin and summer school to graduate on time.

Web School Draws Pupils, Critics
RedNova Wed, 07 Jun 2006 5:20 PM PDT

By Steven Carter, The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. Jun. 7--SCIO -- The state's biggest virtual school ends next week after an inaugural year that drew nearly 700 students with soaring demand that could double its size this fall, eventually making it the largest school in Oregon.

Virtual excursions expand horizons
The Mining Journal Thu, 08 Jun 2006 10:07 AM PDT

MARQUETTE — Students of the Marquette Alternative High School recently took a hike across Isle Royale, walked on the battlegrounds of Gettysburg and took a snowmobile tour through the Upper Peninsula — all without leaving their classroom.

Moving to the Google news Alert for virtual school.

Editorial: Charter school plans are innovative
Sheboygan Press - Sheboygan,WI,USA

... Two seek to integrate the arts into the curriculum at the elementary and high school levels. Another emphasizes online learning almost like a virtual school. ...

Virtual classroom comes into home
Los Angeles Daily News - Los Angeles,CA,USA

... Thirty-five hundred kindergartners through ninth-graders attend the virtual school statewide. They are taught by 170 teachers, at ...

District to expand virtual school
Maple Ridge News - BC, Canada

By Laura Jansen. The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district will be one of many in the province to set up a virtual school. The ...

EDITORIAL: In the year of our technology: Report on status and ...
TMCnet - USA

... It also wisely suggests the state's Virtual School be fully funded separately from the state school aid formula so more money for technology does not cut ...

Virtual School graduates first four-year student
Monroe Times - Monroe,WI,USA

... It also held some importance because she's the first four-year graduate of the Monroe Virtual Charter School, if not the first four-year virtual school grad in ...

Florida Virtual School Students Win International Diplomacy ...
NewsBlaze - Folsom,CA,USA

Leveraging technology, an innovative learning initiative and a passion to build a better global community, three Florida Virtual School (www.FLVS.net) students ...

Webcasts alter learning dynamics
Whistler Question - B.C., Canada

... George. He is the president of the Virtual School Society, a group working to improve and promote electronic courses for BC students. ...

New 'virtual school' could start next year
Skieston Standard Democrat - Sikeston,MO,USA

... Matt Blunt would create a “virtual school” for Missouri students through the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and state Board of ...

Finally, the Google new Alert for cyber school.

Linking Midland to the arts
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... leaving the state. But like all charter schools, the cyber school was open to other Pennsylvania kids as well. The result is well ...

School to offer diverse education
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... The school will create an individual educational plan for each student, custom designing course work out of the cyber school's catalog. ...

Schools seek lesson on cyber bullies
The Desert Sun - Palm Springs,CA,USA

... With "cyber bullies" now an increasing reality, school officials are taking notice and looking at their options for disciplining students who harass and ...

Cyber school begets an education empire
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... time employees and a $4.4 million budget. The cyber school alone has about 4,400 students, 400 employees and a $30 million budget. ...

Franklin pitches new cyber plan
News-Herald - Franklin,PA,USA

... Area School District officials as they explore the possibility of teaming up with Beaver Area School District to offer students a local cyber school option. ...

Cybersecurity contests go national
Register - London,England,UK

... of students from ten different Iowa high schools faced exactly that scenario during a single night in late May in the High School Cyber Defense Competition. ...

Cyber school is part of an intricate web
Pittsburgh Post Gazette - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... Dr. Trombetta is looking at an educational model in which a cyber school teacher working in a classroom in the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center -- of which ...

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Simple Virtual Schooling Questions

Randolph Decker asks the question, What is online learning? In his entry he points to an FAQ which he has developed that addresses that question (and others apparently, but since the website is down I can't tell for sure).

Similarly, John Norton asks the question, Are There Limits to Virtual Learning? And then proceeds to give us the views of two individuals who were part of a conference that John's group (i.e., Teacher Leaders Network) sponsored.

In both of those responses, the individuals accepted the premise that students were wired differently today because of all of the electronic media that they are faced with (and as you know the notion of digital natives is a common topic on this blog - see Students These Days for the most recent entry).

Regardless of where you fall on the digital natives debate, let's turn the question around a bit. The reason why this gets so much press and the reason why places like Michigan have begun to require that students take an online course to graduate (see Requiring Virtual Schooling?) is because there is an assumption that we are teaching them in a way tht they will need to/be able to learn in the future or providing them with skills that will be necessary, even essential to their future careers. But Will That "What I'm Gonna Be After Graduation" Job Even Exist When You Graduate? And even if it does exist, will it require the same skills that are required now?

If we are asking ourselves questions about virtual school, trying to predict what will serve our students the best for their future, should this be a good place to start our predictions?

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Recorded Virtual Schooling Sessions

Here are a couple of recorded sessions that are available for you to review that deal with virtual schooling.

From The Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research or CIDER...

Social Presence in a Web-Based Synchronous Secondary Classroom
Facilitator: Eric Nippard
Institution: Memorial University
Date and time: Jun 01, 2006 12:00 PM

The purpose of this study was to explore how social presence manifests itself in the web-based synchronous secondary classroom. Data were gathered using structured and semi-structured observation of classes and semi-structured interviews of teachers who work in the synchronous secondary classrooms of NL, Canada. Findings revealed that social presence was manifested through several categories of a revised instrument for identifying social presence. Social presence manifested itself for students through the use of text-based Direct Messaging and for teachers through use of two-way audio. Students relied on the conventions of communication of informal synchronous chat to manifest social presence. The archived recording of this session is available at: http://klaatu-dev.pc.athabascau.ca/elluminate/cidersession-060602.jnlp

And from the Horizon Wimba Desktop Lecture Series...

The Next Step in K-12 Online Education
Originally Aired: June 2, 2006 at 2pm [To be rescheduled]
Presented by: Steve Montano, Choice 2000 Virtual High School (CA) & Mark Gensimore, BlendedSchools.net (PA)

The Benefits of Live Instruction at K-12 Schools!
Originally Aired: November 11, 2004
Presented by: Jim Rieger, Tim Scobie, and Margaret Dupuis
>> View this Archived Demo

Finally, from the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory/Learning Point Associates.

New Research on K–12 Online Learning: Guidance for Policy and Practice
Thursday, December 1, 2005, NCREL hosted a Webcast featuring the following experts:
Susan Patrick, President & CEO, NACO
Dr. Patrick Dickson, Michigan State University
Dr. Catherine Cavanaugh, University of North Florida
Elizabeth Pape, CEO of VHS, Inc.
Dr. Robert Blomeyer, Learning Point Associates

At the request of participants, this post-event site houses an archive of the Webcast, copies of the slides shown by the panelists, and a few links discussed during the event.

Webcast Archive
A recording of the live Webcast is available for viewing. When you log in, the replay number you need is 1494162730.

http://www.ncrel.org/tech/webcast/index.html

If you know of others, feel free to pass them on...

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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Creating Communities of Learners

A lot of times you see things about teachers trying to create a community of learners in their classroom, I know that I have it in my own teaching philosophy with some ideas on how I would try to go about achieving this. But let's face it, these communities rarely happen (as evidenced by David Walick's entry entitled Online Communities – Except in Schools).

In the literature, and even in the media and their own promotional material, online learning is said to work best when a virtual learning community is created - but do they really happen?

I have the fortunate experience of spending the last month in a small rural all grade school in my home province, observing and working with a quarter of the school's high school population - the twelve students taking one or more virtual high school courses.

One of the remarkable things that I witnessed was the creation of little learning communities amongst the students at the school engaged in virtual schooling without any actions taken by the school-based or virtual school teacher. Basically these kids would work together on things, turn to each other when they didn't understand something, even schedule bi-weekly sessions at one of their homes for five and six hours at a time that everyone would show up to.

Can you imagine that in a school-based class? When a student has a problem, instead of suffering in silence or simply raising their hand for your help, turning to a neighbour and getting their help - and their neighbour being more than willing to help and for the majority of their conversation to be able the subject area and not what they are planning to do Friday night or did this past weekend! When students have a project to do, everyone in the class getting together outside of school time for three and four and five hours, everyone together doing this project collaboratively to ensure that everyone understands how to do the work!

Granted, this is a small rural school - but these things don't happen in their school-based courses, regardless of the small class sizes (in some cases only eight students) and regardless of the level of difficulty of the course. They don't happen because teachers want it to happen or try to create an environment conducive to it happening.

So, why? Why did this communities of learners develop on their own within these virtual school courses at this school?

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Virtual Schooling in the News

To start off this week, one from ASCD SmartBrief.

South Texas schools to offer online classes from Mexico - Houston Chronicle (5/29)

Thanks to a partnership between the University of Texas and Mexican education agencies, two South Texas school districts will soon allow immigrant and migrant students, among others, to take online math and science courses in Spanish from Mexican high schools, while they learn English and social science at their American campuses. One district will provide students laptops so they may study while they travel with their families from farm to farm.

From the Yahoo news alert service for virtual school.

Virtual School Enrollment
WIBW-TV Topeka Thu, 25 May 2006 4:32 PM PDT

A school that only exists in cyberspace will open its doors this fall with more students than many brick-and-mortar ones. The Lawrence Virtual School expects to enroll 750 students for the next school year, a significant jump from the 167 students it had in 2004.

District considers online academy
Fergus Falls Daily Journal Thu, 25 May 2006 10:41 PM PDT

A desire to pair online education with an outdoors-based learning environment was the basis for the Virtual Outdoors Academy, proposed to District 544 Monday.

And from the Yahoo service for cyber school.

Cyber school begets an education empire
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Mon, 29 May 2006 9:09 PM PDT

Midland School District Superintendent Nick Trombetta often begins his story talking about how no Pennsylvania high school in 1994 would accept students from the tiny Beaver County district when its high school closed, causing students to bus to East Liverpool, Ohio.

Cyber school is part of an intricate web
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Mon, 29 May 2006 9:09 PM PDT

It's easy to understand why the public gets confused about the burgeoning education empire in Midland, Beaver County; it's been growing so fast that its creator, Nick Trombetta, sometimes gets confused himself.

Moving to look at the Google news Alert for virtual school.

Prospective Sun-Herald reporting position trial story
Charlotte Sun-Herald - Charlotte,FL,USA

... In between the family time and sailing, Bon said he'll be completing his junior year through online courses at the Florida Virtual School. ...

Out of School
Columbia Daily Tribune - Columbia,MO,USA

... things.”. Lawmakers overwhelmingly supported a new virtual school option, which Robinson said the governor plans to sign. “I ...

`Virtual' class, real results
Charlotte Observer - Charlotte,NC,USA

... Sturgis is one of more than 100 students this year who used the district's virtual school to make up credits or work ahead on their own time. ...

Virtual healing
St. Petersburg Times - St. Petersburg,FL,USA

... page to her brother represents one of the more extensive ones on The Virtual Wall ... He came home to see her graduate from Hillsborough High School, his alma mater ...

Teachers receive store's honors
Orlando Sentinel - Orlando,FL,USA

... Lambert -- who will begin teaching for Florida Virtual School when she returns to the United States -- earned her bachelor's degree from Manhattanville College ...

Online enrollment soars
Lawrence Journal World - Lawrence,KS,USA

That’s what has happened to the Lawrence Virtual School’s enrollment since the school’s inception. “There seems to be no ...

And finally the Google news Alert for cyber school.

Coal is a solid foundation in cooling times
Financial Times - London,England,UK

... Being “cyber” wasn’t enough, you had to be “digital” too. ... While nobody in my high school days would have accused me of being cool, I have a stake in ...

A cyber school for Boyertown?
Pottstown Mercury - Pottstown,PA,USA

... "This would enhance the education opportunities in the school district." Kulp explained that Boyertown could develop its own quality cyber school and help the ...

Taking back 'cyber' students
Lancaster Newspapers - Lancaster,PA,USA

... It’s the first cyber school in the county run by a public school district. ... The cyber school tuition rate rose this year to $6,067. ...

Franklin Regional's Bonfiglio takes advantage
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Pittsburgh,PA,USA

... Bonfiglio played for Franklin Regional his freshman season, but he didn't play last year because he was making the transition to Cyber School. ...

Finally, to end with a different one - from Distance-Educator.com, Inc..

'Virtual' Class, Real Results
Source: charlotte.com

Online courses can be a valuable asset to students who are struggling in a classroom
http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article14898.phtml

Cyber School Begets An Education Empire
Source: post-gazette.com

Midland School District Superintendent Nick Trombetta often begins his story talking about how no Pennsylvania high school in 1994 would accept students from the tiny Beaver County district when its high school closed, causing students to bus to East Liverpool, Ohio.
http://www.distance-educator.com/dnews/Article14897.phtml

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

May AECT Blogtrack Update

A reminder that the feed site for all of our blogs is available at:
My own contribution to the BlogTrack can be found at:

This month, the following entries on virtual schooling were posted:
Until next month...

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